Understanding fertility: AMH and its importance

The anti-Müllerian hormone is a naturally occurring hormone that can give an indication of fertility potential in a female.

By Dr Ritu Hinduja

Are you aware of the Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)? Here, we tell you why you need to keep a tab on your AMH levels and its importance.

The anti-Müllerian hormone is a naturally occurring hormone that can give an indication of fertility potential in a female. It is a known fact that a woman’s ovaries tend to produce thousands of eggs during the childbearing years. But, the number of eggs declines as age increases. Thus, AMH levels will help determine the potential egg cells left in a woman, and this is known as the ovarian reserve.

If a woman’s ovarian reserve is high, she has a higher chance of getting pregnant. She may also be able to wait months or years before trying to conceive. If the ovarian reserve is low then one will have trouble getting pregnant and fulfill the dream of becoming a parent. Hence, one should not delay pregnancy.

Everything you need to know about the Anti-Müllerian hormone

This hormone is secreted by the follicles that are present in the ovaries and its levels are detectable by a simple blood test. AMH levels will be high if there are higher numbers of eggs in one’s ovaries. Furthermore, AMH levels showcase the size of one’s ovarian reserve, representing a useful marker of ovarian reserve and your fertility potential. Thus, it is the measurement of your biological clock.

The AMH test may also be used to:

Predict the start of menopause, a time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods have stopped, find out the reason for early menopause, detect the reason for amenorrhea that means absence of menstruation, help diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a hormonal disorder that is a common cause of female infertility and the inability to get pregnant, and also help monitor women who have certain types of ovarian cancer.

Also Read |7 important things to understand about your fertility

When can women opt for this test?

The test can be done anytime during one’s monthly cycle, even when one is taking the oral contraceptive pill. The AMH levels may drop as you age and will become undetectable at menopause. A very low AMH is below 1.05 ng/ml.

Why it is imperative to take the AMH test

  • When a couple is planning to start a family, they may have concerns about declining fertility owing to age and many other factors. In this case, opting for an AMH test will be beneficial for the couple.

  • Even if you are planning to postpone your pregnancy for medical or other reasons, then doing this test will be an eye-opener as you will be able to know how long you can delay your decision to have a baby.

  • If you still do not want to conceive then you can try options like freezing your eggs or embryos to nullify the effect of time on your egg reserve. Freezing your embryos/eggs will help you defy your biological clock in context to your ovarian reserve, and you can plan your pregnancy at a much later date whenever you are more equipped for it.

 What happens when you are diagnosed with Low AMH?

If you have been diagnosed with low AMH and are trying to conceive then your blood levels will be correlated by your fertility physician with the help of a transvaginal ultrasound. If both the ultrasound and the low AMH levels correlate, then your history will be evaluated and you will be suggested treatments to reduce the time to conception, as time will be of utmost importance here. It is important here that you understand that low AMH is an indicator of declining fertility and not Infertility.

(The writer is Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai.)

Source: Read Full Article